CRESTVIEW — Crestview High School students in Ernie Martin's outdoor education classes learned there's really nothing to casting a net. In theory.
"A net is nothing but a big ol' limp Frisbee," Capt. Phil Rooks, of Destin-based Fish Finder charters, said Wednesday.
Click here to view video of students trying net casting>>
Rooks, a volunteer guest instructor, coached dozens of students who hauled in a thrown net, coiled it, and prepared it for casting again.
Junior Hailey Skenandore surprised herself with a near perfect cast.
"It was easy!" she said. "I didn't think it was going to be that easy."
Some students had to get used to the nylon mesh nets, which were weighted with lead weights around the mouth.
"It's heavier than it looks," junior Savannah Plaice said.
Senior Chris Cumbie had previous experience casting a net, but was glad he learned the correct approach.
"I've never been taught before," Chris said. "Now I know what to do."
Cast nets can haul in more than fish, Rooks said. He and his brother used the nets to catch quail and doves, he said. And his daughter used one to catch a runaway potbelly pig.
"She caught it in one throw," Rooks said.
While Rooks makes a living chartering fishing trips aboard his boat, the "Fish Finder" — "but I nicknamed her 'Matilda,'" he said — he enjoys speaking to students like Martin's.
"They love it. They get into it," he said. "If you don't get 'em into it today, who's going to go fishing with me when I'm older and grayer?"
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.